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Kent State University Volunteers Lend a Hand During Tax Season

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Kent State's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
provides free tax services for low- to moderate-income
taxpayers. The office is staffed by trained volunteers.

Kent State University volunteers are reaching out to the community by providing a free tax service for low- to moderate-income taxpayers.

Kent State’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, also known as VITA, is offering the service for qualifying individuals this tax-filing season on the Kent Campus. 

Paula DiVencenzo, business and finance tax manager at Kent State, says this is the second year Kent State is participating in the IRS-sponsored VITA program. Volunteers include members from Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Association, the university’s payroll department and the Office of Global Education, as well as five interns completing the master's program in the College of Business Administration.

DiVencenzo says some volunteers are involved to gain experience, but most are community-minded students who want to help people.

Tianjun Shen, a VITA volunteer, says he got involved while interning for Kent State’s International Student and Scholar Services.

“I offered to help and found it quite rewarding to be able to help international students, scholars and their family members,” Shen says. “Also as an international student myself, I was confused about how to file my taxes, and I just wanted to offer my helping hand.”

DiVencenzo explains that international students use the services more than any group. However, DiVencenzo encourages traditional students and community members to file their taxes through the service because it is free and volunteers are dedicated to making sure taxpayers are taking advantage of any deductions or credits available. 

To qualify for free preparation and e-file services, taxpayers’ gross income must total $50,000 or less for individual and joint filing. The service is available to students, university employees and the public. Certified volunteers prepare U.S. 1040 forms for residents and 1040NR forms for nonresidents.

The VITA tax preparation site is located in Rooms A224 and A226 in the Business Administration Building on 475 Terrace Dr. Weekday sessions are available by appointment. The VITA site is open for walk-ins on the following Saturdays: March 10 and April 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1  to 3 p.m., and March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Although Saturday walk-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged.

All appointments can be scheduled by contacting DiVencenzo at 330-672-8622 or via email at

Taxpayers must provide proof of identification and specific documentation. Please visit for a list of required items and for more information.  

Posted Feb. 13, 2012 | Katie Fickle

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27th Annual Graduate Research Symposium Comes Up April 5 and 6

Encourage your graduate students to participate in yearly symposium

The 27th Annual Graduate Research Symposium will be held on April 5 - 6, at the Kent Student Center. The Graduate Research Symposium provides an interactive forum for students to share information and expertise on their research, and will feature oral and poster presentations by students from various disciplines.  All forms of scholarship are encouraged. Monetary awards for the most outstanding presentations will be given. 

Daniel Mahony, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, will deliver the keynote address, which will focus on the nature of collaboration and the role of interdisciplinary research. Mahony will give his presentation on Thursday, April 5, in the Kent Student Center Kiva, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. 

Grant McGimpsey, Ph.D., vice president for research, will speak at the awards luncheon on Friday, April 6, at 1 p.m. at the Kent Student Center. His pivotal role in promoting research and academic achievement at Kent State University will be a highlight of this year's event.

Registration for the symposium ends March 2. For more information about the symposium and to register, visit

Please encourage your students to attend and participate in this year’s Graduate Research Symposium. 

Faculty members are also needed to serve as judges. If you are interested in serving as a judge, contact Michael Allen at

Faculty members can show support for their students by attending the presentations and Awards Luncheon. Pre-registration is required for the luncheon at

The Graduate Research Symposium and Awards Luncheon are free and open to the Kent State community, and other regional universities.    

For more information about the symposium, contact Kate McAnulty, director, Graduate Student Services, at or 330-672-2180.

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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Kent State’s African Community Theatre Holds Auditions for Spring 2012 Production

The African Community Theatre at Kent State University will be holding auditions and seeking volunteers for its spring 2012 production of Marlin T. Tazewell’s Ain’t Nothing But a Thang. This award-winning drama-comedy takes a raw look at the problems that plague an African-American family, including AIDS, illiteracy, self-hate and drug abuse. Fran Dorsey, Ph.D., director of the African Community Theatre, will direct the play.
Auditions will be held on Feb. 16 and 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Feb. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the African Community Theatre, which is located in Room 230 of Ritchie Hall at Kent State. The street address is 225 Terrace Dr.

The cast consists of three African-American women, ages 17-50 and three African-American men, ages 17-30. Interested individuals should prepare a three- to five-minute monologue. Volunteers are also needed to assist in all aspects of production.
For more information, contact Dorsey at 330-672-0151 or

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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Tastes of China: A Culinary Exploration Trip Offered by Kent State University

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Cultural expert and Associate Professor Philip Wang, Ph.D.,
and Chef Ed Hoegler, from Kent State University, will lead a
culinary exploration team to China from June 17 to 29.

Travel to China with cultural expert Associate Professor Philip Wang, Ph.D., and Chef Ed Hoegler, from Kent State University, for a Chinese culinary exploration from June 17 to 29.

This journey will give travelers the opportunity to learn different Chinese culinary styles in different regions, such as Sichuan, Beijing and Shanghai cuisines. Cooking classes will be conducted in local restaurants or schools where ideas with the chefs and students can be exchanged.

Some trip highlights include:

  • Tour UNESCO World Heritage sites: The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors Museum
  • Discover various regional culinary styles: Peking duck, dumplings, noodles
  • Shop for food ingredients at local markets
  • Cook with Chinese chefs
  • Visit the cities of Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Hangzhou and Shanghai

The tour cost is $3,245 per person, based on twin occupancy room with two beds. The price includes:

  • Eleven nights in double occupy hotel accommodation (four stars) with daily breakfast
  • Some meals
  • Cost for cooking classes
  • Admission fees for planned attractions
  • English-speaking guides, experienced drivers and air-conditioned vehicles
  • Airfares of the domestic flights with airport taxes for Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Hangzhou

Space is limited to 20 participants. For more information about this trip, call Rose Onders at 330-672-0564 or email  

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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Wrestling Team Wins MAC Regular Season Title

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The Kent State wrestling team gathers after winning the
Mid-American Conference (MAC) title. 

The seniors on Kent State University’s wrestling team couldn’t have written a better script for their final competition at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on Sunday, Feb. 5. The Kent State Golden Flashes (12-4, 5-0 MAC) won eight matches, including victories by all four seniors in the lineup, downing Eastern Michigan (13-6, 2-2) 28-10. The victory capped off an undefeated conference season, extended Kent State’s winning streak to 10 and secured the Golden Flashes’ second outright Mid-American Conference (MAC) title in the last four years.
“Step one is accomplished,” says Kent State wrestling head coach Jim Andrassy. “And doing it at home is a great thing. Now we have to focus on some other things.”
Sunday’s step one began with a first period pin by senior Nic Bedelyon (Lewistown, Pa.). Already leading 5-0, Bedelyon got in on a shot, brought Jared Germaine's leg up and turned it into a cradle from the standing position.
“I've got to open up, keep shooting and attacking,” Bedelyon says of the difference between Sunday and his other recent matches. “I feel like if I can get things going, our team’s going to do well.”

Feb. 5 was the first time the Golden Flashes clinched an outright conference crown on their home mat since 1989.
For more information about Kent State Intercollegiate Athletics, visit

Posted Feb. 13, 2012 | Intercollegiate Athletics

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Summer’s Coming to Kent State

First day to register for summer sessions is Feb. 20

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A summer-themed event will take place
on the first floor of the Kent Student Center
on Feb. 20 to mark the first day of registration
for summer sessions.

To celebrate and create awareness about the first day of registration for summer sessions, Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education will hold an event with the theme, “Summer’s Coming to Kent State,” on Monday, Feb. 20. The summer-themed event will take place on the first floor of the Kent Student Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This year, we want to create excitement around summer sessions,” says Marilyn Bokrass, program manager, Office of Continuing and Distance Education. “Enrolling in summer classes will move our students closer to graduation. We hope that faculty and staff members will encourage their students to not only stop by the summer sessions event on Feb. 20, but also register for summer classes.”

A variety of activities are planned for students during the event, including free photos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of a summer-themed backdrop, a raffle to win fun summer items, giveaways and more.

For more information about the event, contact Bokrass at or 330-672-8658.

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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Alternative Spring Break Trips Help Engage Students

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A Kent State student participates in a community program
during an Alternative Spring Break trip.

Kent State’s Alternative Spring Break experiences help engage students by exposing them to new ways of thinking, helping others and hopefully, meeting some amazing people.

The Alternative Spring Break program is designed to challenge students to think critically and react to problems faced by members of the communities in which they volunteer. The experience challenges them to immerse themselves in environments that are different from their own. The immersion experience creates opportunities for participants to experience, discuss and understand social issues, problems and challenges while encouraging them to become change agents in their local, national and global communities.

This year, there are five trips to choose from: Buffalo, N.Y., Chicago, Ill., Cleveland, Ohio, Columbiana County, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. Students interested in going to Buffalo will work with Habitat for Humanity, as well as The Native American Community Services. Travel dates for the Buffalo trip are Sunday, March 18, to Saturday, March 24. Students in Chicago will work with a variety of community organizations, from youth empowerment programs to homeless outreach programs. Students will meet with community leaders and organizers to acquire an understanding of social issues and grassroots social change initiatives. Travel dates for the Chicago trip are Saturday, March 17, to Friday, March 23.

The trip to Cleveland will immerse students in an urban poverty experience. They will study the impact of neighborhood gentrification and interact with those living in poverty and on the streets, and provide direct service.  Travel dates for the Cleveland trip are Sunday, March 18, to Thursday, March 22.

Participants in D.C. will stay at the Community for Creative Non-Violence, the largest homeless shelter, and will interact with and serve those impacted by homelessness and poverty and explore a variety of faith-based organizations and initiatives. Travel dates for the D.C. trip are Saturday, March 17, to Friday, March 23.

Lastly those helping in Columbiana County, home of Kent State University at Salem and Kent State University at East Liverpool, will be part of an educational and social analysis program on the Appalachian region and focus on poverty and social justice issues. This trip recently received a gift of $5,000 to support the effort in Columbiana County, which will include restoring playhouses for children, walking and bathing animals at the Humane Society, delivering meals with Catholic Charities, and building signs for local non-profits. Travel dates for the Columbiana trip are Sunday, March 18, to Friday, March 23.

If you are not already convinced that the Alternative Spring Break experience is for you or your students, here is what one participant said after last years’ experience: “I saw sides of myself on this trip that I always knew were there but I’ve never really accessed. I grew in my self-confidence and in my ability to lead.  Working at Metro Teen Aids really inspired me and I’m seriously thinking about looking more into the program and possibly the WPI program. I’m excited about going back to school to share my new-found confidence and desire to build a better community.”

For more information about and to register for the Alternative Spring Break Program, visit or contact Ann Gosky, senior special assistant in Quality Initiatives and Curriculum, in 204 Moulton Hall or at

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

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